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Wisdom of Ramadahn by Ursula Roberts

CHAPTER FIVE

 Approaches to Meditation

 Regarding the need for prayer and meditation, can you suggest ways by which we might rise above the many things which hold us to the earth?

 By establishing within yourself the habit of prayer and quiet remembrance, such as has been created in many religious communities, in which at every hour a bell is rung, bringing back the community to the recollection of God. You may appoint for yourself a time at a certain hour when, whatsoever you are doing, as soon as your eye sees that time automatically you will re-establish your remembrance of the power, unity and beauty of the most High. You do not need to pause in your occupation. Some people can establish this each time they see a child, some at morning and evening. It is an individual pattern created by simply switching your consciousness from its awareness of what you are doing unto the remembrance of the power and majesty of God. You may also sit quietly in meditation for a short time, watching the rhythm of your breath, breathing in life and breathing out love, for life and love are the very essence of the Universal Spirit itself. Having established this habit you will discover peace.

  I find it difficult to break the chains of comfort. I try to meditate at night, but sleep always overcomes me.

 It is easier for the soul to unfold and for the spirit to grow when it has less of the comforts of civilisation. If you wish to scale the spiritual heights then must you discipline the body and the bodily desires, applying yourself to the gaining of spiritual treasure with the same assiduousness as you give to the gaining of earthly treasure or wealth. The gifts of the spirit are not given; they are gained! The ways of the spirit are taught and shown, but only you can walk upon the ways, and only you can practise what we teach.

 The treasures of the soul which you may attain in your high moments of spiritual enlightenment are more beautiful, more precious than any you can gain in your places of bodily comfort. So seek, pray, and establish rhythm in your lives, and discover for yourself the beauty of the spirit and the richness of the soul.

 How can one remain peaceful and unruffled?

 Try to hold within some place in your mind a simple word. You may hold fast unto the word "Jesu" or to a simple symbol such as a cross. In the midst of your busy activity let your mind revert to this one word. Or in conversation you may be listening to another but your mind can rest on the thought, "Peace, peace, peace," so that it becomes a note sounding in the inward places of your consciousness.

 You have a mind that recollects many things, so as your conscious mind repeats this word it is like an echo which the mind of recollection brings forth in response. So, although you may be hurried or weary, the inward sounding word brings up from the wells of memory, peace, peace.

 When the earthly mind seems to be predominating in one's meditation time, is it helpful to use music?

 Truly, for as the sound of music goes forth into the atmosphere surrounding you in colour and beauty, it vibrates upon the delicate unfolding spiritual consciousness and will often bring it into peace. It also brings relaxation to the mortal body itself, and as the body relaxes so it comes into harmony with the spirit. In your world too little is known about radiations of sound and their reaction upon the delicate structures of the mortal body as well as those of the spiritual body.

 When one wishes to meditate and does not feel well is it better to leave it, or perhaps to try as best one can?

 It is better to leave the effort at meditating, but to spend a short time in affirming or recollecting the quality of meditation. In other words, lie upon your bed to rest and renew your strength, but as it is your accustomed time for meditation, remember this, and in your recollection go back in thought to a moment when you experienced the full beauty of a previous one. By doing this you re-establish a link with the influence of that previous time.

 Could it be said that until one has learned to concentrate properly and single-mindedness is achieved, one is not ready to meditate?

 That is true, because in your. Everyday training the mind is not taught either to meditate or to concentrate. The child in school is taught to switch the mind from one subject to another so there is a multiplicity of thoughts imparted to the mind, and when the child reaches adulthood there is still this same tendency for many interests to gain the attention of the mortal mind.

 Would you say, then, that in training oneself to concentrate one should do only a single thing?

 Yes, for often the fingers may be occupied in a labour and the mind may be somewhere else.

 So we have to learn to concentrate upon these mundane things which we really do not like doing in order to reach the goal?

 Yes. A soul taking its way through the seasons of the mortal life should undertake its work with a full degree of knowledge that everything it does is important, if it is charged with the spirit of love and with awareness that this is a spiritual opportunity. The paper you touch, the pen you hold, the thought you think, all become impregnated with the great universal life-power of light, truth and beauty, once you are aware that you are a spirit, part of the great Eternal Spirit.

 When one concentrates on a particular job of work in the daily life to such a degree that there is only a slight awareness of what is happening around, is that what you mean?

 Truly. And just such concentration is needed, so that as you enter into meditation your mind may easily concentrate upon the subject of your meditation, and through that come swiftly into peace. You can then take a further step and meditate upon the thought of a candle burning within a still place, and as your thought comes through that still flame, you may enter into deeper stillness and come to greater knowledge.

 What are the first steps to meditation?

 There are many ways, for it means bringing the mortal mind into harmony with the spiritual mind that the two may blend.

 So you may meditate while seated upon a quiet hillside or within a garden, trying to blend your mortal mind with the stillness and peace of the great realm of nature, as your thoughts cease the busyness of their activity and come into a slower rhythm, until at last the rhythm of thought itself dies away and you are at peace.

 In your desire for spiritual unfoldment seek for the habit of meditation, that at any moment you may stop, be still and at peace. Then the mortal mind feels the peace of the great oversoul, the spiritual mind, interpenetrating it so that the two become one in harmony and joy. True melody is created by a vibration of notes, then a pause, a note, then a pause. When you sing, your voice rises then drops down and rests, and out of your resting and rising is melody. Whether music comes from your own throat and lips or the flowing of singing streams, still it is created as much by the resting as by the sounding of notes and singing.

 Human existence is a sounding forth of notes, a melody, and each of you are part of the whole symphony of life. Therefore your soul needs to sing, then to rest and pause, to wait and be still, that within its resting it may take up new vibrations: the thousand things you each undertake day by day.

 Do your earthly work, speak your many words, but establish a rhythm in your life of quiet pausing, of coming into peace. Slacken the tension for a moment and remember you are spirit; for a second you are at peace. In that second the mortal mind becomes renewed and refreshed as it is tuned unto the overself. The habit of meditative recollection when established regularly and rhythmically in your daily life will mean that easily and safely you may go into the deeper silence. Here the mortal mind may be released from the pressure of duty thoughts and be allowed to relax in the beauty thoughts of the spirit, for often duty brings strain, but beauty brings relaxation and harmony.

 When meditating, is it good always to concentrate on the same theme or symbol?

 It is good to use the same seed thought for a period, but to change it occasionally, for the mortal mind becomes automatic in its reaction to certain things, and a change of the seed idea for a few weeks is profitable.

 You were speaking about tuning in to the natural forces. Is it possible while meditating to hear the sound of a particular flower? Some people say they hear wheat singing or bluebells ringing.

 Yes, if persevered with, you will find that as you begin to seek for that attunement and awareness a great new world of beautiful discovery opens before you.

 When one sits for meditation, do the guides and spirit friends take any part?

 The part that guides would play is to impinge upon your first efforts their peace or tranquillity, especially if you have been living in a state of emotional unrest or have not yet learned the first lesson of concentration. Within the spirit realm there is a large body of ministering spirits who in their mortal lives were nuns, monks, hermits or yogis, under the guidance of those who knew the pathway of meditation, concentration and contemplation. So when a soul such as yourself desires to meditate and takes the first steps towards the lighting of the candle flame of clear meditative thought, a light or sound will vibrate into the inner planes. To you will be attracted a spirit who understands your weakness, your lack of development, and who will stand near to impart to your aura either the blueness of tranquillity, or to blend with your mind their steadiness in concentration. If there is a psychic weakness within the mediumistic body they will stand near to guard you from any invasion which may take place owing to your ignorance or misunderstanding of the laws you are seeking to apply. It is in this blending of the guide's consciousness with yours that you at slowly strengthened and brought from stage to stage of understanding, until at last you break through into the clear realisation of that which you are seeking. Then, their work completed, those who have been guiding you may withdraw to undertake the guidance of another upon a similar pathway.

 Would it not be good for more people to learn to meditate in this very hectic life-style today?

 Truly, for it would not only bring quietness to the mind and peace to tormented emotions, but this meditation of which I speak will open the way for true healing of the spirit to flow through. The outcome should be harmony of body, health and renewal of body forces, peace of mind and control over emotions. If you do not achieve these from your meditation, then you need to learn again, to be persistent, until the inflow of peace, life and love rejuvenates the physical and mortal body which is the instrument of the soul.

 Does it help to wear a yellow garment for meditation?

 It is a very good practice, for the yellow garment tends to quieten the mental activities and bring to constructive activity the power of the intellect, but make it of a delicate primrose colour, or wear a garment which has an embroidery of pure gold upon it.

 When you speak of people wearing gold, does that apply to everyone?

 It applies to those who are aspiring towards spiritual development and to an understanding of spiritual matters, those who earnestly desire to use their minds to understand the laws by which life is governed by the great Master Creator, and to meditate in peace. It is also for those who try to express their understanding upon rays of inspiration, both spoken and in the form of music or art, for them, too, the golden light is indeed needed, as it replenishes and quickens the faculties of the brain cells when the brain appears to be tiring under a period of prolonged strain.

 Does the sign of the cross serve any useful purpose?

 It serves a very useful purpose so long as the person who is making such a sign is aware that they have spiritual power within themselves.

 How can we use it in ordinary life?

 At the closure of your day, spend a little time in the secrecy of prayer and meditation, and try to send forth into the air the shape of a shining cross, sending it upward through the roof of the home wherein you dwell into that part of the world nearest to you.

 In your loving thought try to uphold it for a few moments above the roof of your house, and as you uphold it, those in the spirit who are working with you will draw near to invest this spiritual symbol with their own radiance and understanding, that the cross may be supported. During the hours of darkness it will be a light unto those who may suddenly lose the use of their physical bodies, for seeing the light of the cross which you have raised, they may find their way through the shadows towards it, and those ministering spirits who cluster around the cross may lift these recently dead ones into that radiance and safely bring them into the places of peace.

 Would this only be of use to Christians?

 In your world there are many men and women whose minds are clouded with fear, hate and confusion, and they know not what to believe or where to turn, because their faith in the goodness of the great Master Creator is destroyed by the many challenges and negative forces at work in your mortal world. This symbol of the cross is a sign known unto most of earth's children, whether they be born into the Christian or other faiths. They know that the cross is the symbol of compassion, and where the cross shines, therein goodness and compassion may be found.

 Though only a small thing, nevertheless it is a message you are writing with the living power of your own inward soul as you seek to raise the cross, creating it by thought, sustaining it by will, and investing it with light as you think upon it at the closure of each day.

 What is the difference between contemplation and meditation?

 Contemplation is a quietness of the soul in which all activity has ceased and the soul is in a complete state of acquiescence, or meditation, in that it can only gaze, absorb or become absorbed into that which it is contemplating. There is no exact division between these three things, because they interblend and it is possible for the soul who becomes proficient to pass swiftly from concentration to meditation, and from this into contemplation, so the three become as one.

 When one is contemplating some aspect of God and you become at rest, then God takes over in that silence. Isn't that contemplation?

 I think you are symbolising in a differing measure that which I have tried to explain, for as you contemplate or become absorbed into, does not the thing in which you have become absorbed also absorb you?

 In meditation, when the point is reached when one is not conscious at all, "just gone away," then you "return" refreshed, what should be done? Should one strive to retain some idea of the meditation?

 No, for when you reach this stage you have reached the first degree of contemplation; you have entered into the deep state of silence and rest, to the degree that you become unconscious of the activity of the mortal body. In this state you have absorbed from the Universal God Spirit some aspect of life, love or renewal, so that when you return you are refreshed. Just give yourself more and more to this and you will get greater and greater refreshment.

 First concentration, then meditation. What is ecstacy?

 Ecstacy is that which is often experienced when the soul has managed to break through the confines of the mortal thought and has entered into unity with the universal state of consciousness which lies without. This may sometimes bring great peace or it may be known as a great love; it may come in a tremendous inflow of joy. This is symbolised by the word ecstacy.

 From what you have said, could that be the moment when one is entranced or controlled?

 No, this has no relationship whatsoever to the control of spirits over their mediums. It can only be undertaken by the seeking soul who realises itself as a spirit using its bodies for a season for experience in the mortal world, and desiring to attain to its own true self consciousness and unity with the source from which it has sprung.

 The trance and joy which occurs through mediumship is something that we of the spirit can impart to mediums that they may be encouraged to seek for further development, greater knowledge.

 Can you speak about the states of ecstacy experienced by people like St Teresa? What exactly is that?

 It is the cleansing. of the whole consciousness, so that it comes into a state of complete unity. Too often in the seeking after the things of spirit the spiritual consciousness is cleansed but the mortal or memory consciousness is still filled with fears and discords of the past. Therefore, persons such as those of whom you speak may spend long seasons in prayer and meditation, seeking to purify the deep hidden consciousness so that when the spiritual mind reaches out into unity with the power of God, then the joy which comes with such a union is translated not only to the spiritual mind, but also to the deeper subconscious mind so the whole person becomes radiated with the joy of the great Master Creator.

 Would this spiritual cleansing account for the stigmata phenomenon experienced by some saints?

 Yes, for in the particular cases of which you speak the individuals have dwelled in deep thought upon the aspects of the crucifixion and have in meditation tried to visualise what this has meant, so the subconscious becomes deeply impressed with these images. In the time of purification the images are brought to the surface and may reflect themselves in just this fashion. Any sincere individual, having a reverence for a particular symbol and dwelling in thought upon it may, when complete unity arises within the consciousness, show a sign of the symbol either upon their living flesh or in some part of the bodily self.

 Is it possible to induce that by self-hypnosis?

 Each of you do this, knowingly or unknowingly in your daily life, for you are filled with the images of age and weakness, and this thought sinks deep down into the inward consciousness until one day it is out-pictured upon the living flesh as old age. Those who visualise health and youth and the influence of spirit have this image deeply etched within the consciousness, and so the bodily form reflects the youthfulness of the spirit.